(I’m waiting in line for my coffee in my usual coffee shop. There are two ladies in front of me. The one just before me is a very chic-dressed, unsmiling lady on the phone. She keeps getting out of the queue while talking on her phone, coming back in in front of me, looking at the display case, then out again. It gets unclear whether she’s still queuing or not. When my turn comes, she’s been gone a while. I start to order but she barges back in, without a “sorry” and orders her own food. Since she WAS there before me, I have better things to do than argue, but the barista and I exchange a look. She orders and leaves. She never let go of her phone.)
Barista: “Good afternoon! Sorry about that, and thanks for your patience.”
Me: “It’s okay. She was like those cars that don’t have their blinkers on, but you KNOW they’re going to switch lanes!”
(He agreed with me and gave me a free drink for being always smiling and pleasant! It was worth being patient for!)
(It’s January 1st and I’m working in a bakery that’s also a self service café. It’s packed because we’re the only place in the area that’s open. I’m bouncing back and forth between doing dishes and serving customers and am particularly stressed out, as celebrating the new year obviously made everyone forget manners completely. Until this customer came.)
Customer: *ignoring the line behind him, smiles at me* “First of all I want to wish you a happy new year and thank you for working today and being here for me!”
(I almost started crying and beamed for the rest of the day. Faith in humanity restored.)
(In line at a popular chain coffee shop, I can overhear the cashier telling customers that the previous customer has paid for their drinks – “pay it forward” – and each customer is then paying for the next customer. The lady in front of me makes her order, and then it comes time to pay.)
Cashier: “The customers are doing ‘Pay It Forward’ today. Your drink has been paid for by the last customer!
Lady: “Oh, that’s so nice! Thank you!” *leaves*
Cashier: *to me* “Wow. I… I’m so sorry. Everyone else has carried this on.”
Me: “No problem. I’ll take a—”
(I try to hand the cashier a $5 but she holds out her hand.)
Cashier: “Wait, I might be able to make it from the change pot.”
(She takes the cup that she’s been dropping odd change into, and proceeds to count out small change. There is just enough for my drink.)
Cashier: *with a huge smile* “There! Your drink has been paid for!”
Me: “Thank you! Here, pay it forward.” *I hand her the $5 and she puts it into the change pot for the next customer*
Cashier: “Thank you SO much! Happy holidays!”
(I’m on the bus on the way to my hometown to visit my family and friends over Christmas. I’ve been on the bus all night. We’ve stopped at gas stations but this is our first stop at a place with hot food, and we still have 3 hours to go, and I’ve walked from the bus depot while it is about -40.)
Me: “Okay, can I get a coffee, and an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, no meat? On debit, please.”
Cashier: “It says your card’s declined. Want to try again? Any cash?”
(No cash, and I try again, still no dice.)
Me: *tired, hungry and almost in tears* “Sorry, it didn’t work. Thank you anyway.”
Cashier: “Look, you know what honey? Take it.”
Cashier: “Take the sandwich, hon. You look like you need it right now. Just do one thing for me, OK?”
Me: “OK, what’s that?”
Cashier: “Pay it forward. Next time you see someone you can help, help ’em. And have a Merry Christmas.”
(Now that’s the holiday spirit for you. I keep her in mind whenever I see someone who needs help now.)
I work at a coffee shop inside a box store. There is only two of us on duty at a time. My coworker has gone to the far back to fetch more cup lids, and I’m scrambling to hold down the bar. After getting through the main rush, I realize my hands are shaking and I’m having what I call a walking panic attack; my thoughts are just faster than normal rather than spiraling, but my body reacts the same. I take a few deep breaths to try and stay alert, and go to face the next customer.
After she orders her drink, I tell her the total and notice she switches the order of the bills she hands me. The top one has “Smile! It will get better” written on it.
When I hand her the drink, she has the biggest smile on which helps cheer me up, too. Thank you, random lady, for noticing I was down and helping me to feel happy again!